Yesterday we planted a tree at Sunshine to celebrate 175 years of Lutheran Education in Australia. We gathered to give thanks not just for the work of Lutheran educators and schools but also for all those involved in Christian education in its varying forms. Christian education is a vital ministry of the global church.
I would like to thank the staff of Sunshine for another busy and exciting term of learning. We thank too, the parents who have volunteered this term in order to make our community a vibrant and rich one.
All Lutheran schools across the country gathered at some stage this semester to plant a tree. I can see from the reports that have come into my inbox that the choices have been varied. Our choice of a miniature citrus seems to be unique though.
“Trees in their diversity, majesty, resilience and strength capture our hearts and give us great pleasure. They give hospitality, freedom, security and treasures; they bind us to the rhythms of the earth and orient us towards the great expanse of the universe. Most people like to immerse themselves in natural or people designed, tree laden environments: to walk among, to observe, to feel, to listen, to connect, to come close to and walk with the Creator God. Poets and artists, musicians and story-tellers through the ages have been and continue to be inspired by these stalwarts of nature, these lungs of planet earth.
For German Lutherans who arrived in Australia in the 1800s, trees were very functional, giving them the materials they needed for homes, schools and churches, and giving them fuel needed for warmth, cooking and the manufacture of goods. They would certainly have noticed a difference in the species of trees from their homeland to their newly adopted land. Their faith was important, and the cross was central.
The Tree of Life is the theme for this significant year of celebration for Lutheran schools. ‘In the magnificent natural sign of the tree, God showed us from the beginning the sign of the cross. He planted the image in the Garden of Eden; he suspended it over the earth at the crucifixion; he established the tree eternally in the orchards of the new earth, watered by the river flowing from his throne.” (Adapted from LEA materials)
May we always be aware of the Tree of Life that provides strength for our lives. It is through God’s power and provision that we have the blessings of Christian schooling.